Interest rates: different types and what they mean for borrowers (2023)

What is an interest rate?

The interest rate is the amount that a lender charges a borrower and is a percentage of the principal – the amount borrowed. The interest rate on a loan is usually quoted annually, known asannual percentage rate(ABR).

An interest rate can also be applied to the amount earned from a savings account or at a bank or credit uniondeposit receipt(CD).annual percentage yield(APY) refers to the interest earned on these deposit accounts.

Main Conclusions

  • Interest rate is the amount of principal that a lender charges a borrower for using assets.
  • An interest rate also applies to the amount earned from a deposit account with a bank or credit union.
  • Most mortgages use simple interest. However, some loans use compound interest applied to the principal but also to accrued interest from previous periods.
  • A borrower deemed low-risk by the lender has a lower interest rate. A loan that is classified as risky has a higher interest rate.
  • The APY is the interest rate earned on a savings account or CD at a bank or credit union. Savings accounts and CDs use compound interest.


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Interest rates: nominal and real

understand interest

Interest is essentially a charge on the borrower for using an asset. Borrowed assets can include cash, consumer goods, vehicles, and real estate. For this reason, an interest rate can be thought of as a “cost of money” – higher interest rates make it more expensive to borrow the same amount of money.

Therefore, interest rates apply to most loan or borrowing transactions. Individuals borrow money to buy homes, fund projects, start or finance businesses, or pay college tuition. Businesses borrow to finance capital projects and to expand their operations through the purchase of fixed and long-term assets such as land, buildings, and machinery. Borrowed money is paid back immediately on a predetermined date or in regular installments.

For loans, the interest rate is applied to the principal amount, i.e. the loan amount. The interest rate is thatcost of debtfor the borrower and the rate of return for the lender. The money to be repaid is usually more than the amount borrowed because lenders charge compensation for not using the money during the loan term. The lender could have invested the proceeds during this period instead of extending a loan that generated income from the asset. The difference between the full repayment amount and the original loan is the interest to be paid.

If the borrower is deemed low-risk by the lender, the borrower usually pays a lower interest rate. If the borrower is deemed high-risk, the interest rate charged will be higher, resulting in higher borrowing costs.

Risk is usually assessed when a lender checks a potential borrower's creditworthiness, which is why it's important to have excellent credit if you want to qualifythe best loans.

Simple interest rate

If you borrow $300,000 from the bank and the loan agreement specifies that the interest rate on the loan is 4% simple interest, that means you are giving the bank the original loan amount of $300,000 and up (4% x $300,000). have to pay ) = $300,000 + $12,000 = $312,000.

The example above was calculated based onsimple interestformula which reads:

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simple interest= principal X interest rate X time

The person who took out a loan will have to pay $12,000 in interest at the end of the year, assuming the loan agreement is only one year. If the loan term is a 30-year mortgage, the interest payment is:

simple interest= 300.000 $ x 4 % x 30 = 360.000 $

A simple interest rate of 4% per year equates to an annual interest payment of $12,000. After 30 years, the borrower would have received $12,000 x 30 years = $360,000 in interest payments, which explains how banks make money.


Some lenders prefer thatZineszinmethod, which means that the borrower pays even more interest. Also called compound interestinterest on interest, is applied to both principal and accrued interest paid in previous periods. The bank assumes that at the end of the first year the borrower owes that year's principal plus interest. The bank also assumes that at the end of the second year the borrower owes the principal plus the interest of the first year plus interest on the interest of the first year.

The interest is due whencompositionis higher than the interest due under the simple interest method. Interest is calculated monthly on the principal, including interest accrued in previous months. For shorter maturities, the calculation of interest is similar for both methods. However, as the term of the loan increases, the discrepancy between the two types of interest calculation increases.

Using the example above, the total amount of interest owed at the end of 30 years is almost $700,000 on a $300,000 loan at a 4% interest rate.

The following formula can be used to calculate compound interest:

Zineszin= p X [(1 + interest rate)n− 1]
Where from:
p= principal
n= number of compounding periods

Compound Interest and Savings Accounts

When you save in a savings account, compound interest is cheap. The interest earned on these accounts is compounded and is compensation to the account holder for allowing the bank to use the deposited funds.

For example, if you deposit $500,000 in aSavings account with high return, the bank can borrow $300,000 of these funds to use as a mortgage loan. To compensate you, the bank pays 1% annual interest on the account. So while the bank takes 4% from the borrower, it gives the account holder 1% and earns them 3% interest. In effect, savers lend money to the bank, which in turn makes funds available to borrowers at interest.

(Video) Interest Rates 2 - The Borrower's Perspective

The snowball effect of compound interest, even when interest rates are at rock bottom, can help you build wealth over time; Investopedia AcademyPersonal finance for graduatesThe course teaches you how to create a nest egg and make wealth lasting.

borrower's borrowing costs

While interest rates represent interest income to the lender, they represent a cost of borrowing to the borrower. B. dividend payments, to determine which source of financing is the cheapest. That's where most companies finance their capitaltake on debt and/or issue sharesthe cost of capital is evaluated in order to achieve an optimal capital structure.


Interest rates on consumer loans are usually expressed as an annual percentage rate (APR). This is the rate of return that lenders charge in order to be able to lend their money. For example the interest rate oncredit cardsis stated as the effective annual interest rate. In our example above, 4% is the mortgage or borrower's APR. The APR does not include compound interest for the year.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is the interest rate earned on a savings account or CD at a bank or credit union. This interest rate takes compounding into account.

How is the interest determined?

The interest rate charged by banks is determined by many factors, such as the state of the economy. of a countryBanco Central(for example thefederal reservein the US) sets the interest rate that each bank uses to determine the APR range they offer. When the central bank sets interest rates at high levels, the cost of debt increases. When the cost of debt is high, it discourages people from borrowing and lowers consumer demand. Also, interest rates tend to rise with inflation.

battleInflation, banks may set higher reserve requirements, resulting in tighter money supply or higher demand for credit. In a high-yield economy, people resort to saving their money because they get more of the savings rate. thestock marketsuffers because investors would rather benefit from the higher savings rate than invest in the lower-yielding stock market. Firms also have limited access to equity financing through debt, leading to economic decline.

During periods of low interest rates, savings are often increased as borrowers have access to credit at cheap interest rates. Because interest rates on savings are low, companies and individuals are more inclined to issue and buy riskier investment vehicles, such as stocks. This spending fuels the economy and provides an injectioncapital marketslead to economic expansion. Although governments prefer lower interest rates, they ultimately lead to market imbalances where demand exceeds supply and causes inflation. When inflation occurs, interest rates rise, which may be relatedWalras law.

(Video) Different Types of Borrowing | Personal Finance


The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in mid-2022. It's up from 2.89% a year earlier.

Interest rates and discrimination

Despite laws like thatChancengleichheitsgesetz(ECOA), which prohibits discriminatory lending practices,Systemic racism prevailsIn the US, homebuyers in predominantly black communities are getting mortgages at higher interest rates than homebuyers in white communities, according to a July 2020 report. His analysis of mortgage data from 2018 and 2019 found that the highest rates added nearly $10,000 in interest over the typical 30-year lifespanfixed rate loan.

In July 2020 theDepartment of Financial Consumer Protection(CFPB), which enforces ECOA, issued a request for public comment to identify ways to improve ECOA's actions to ensure non-discriminatory access to credit. "Clear standards help protect African Americans and other minorities, but the CFPB must support them with measures to ensure creditors and others are following the law," said Kathleen L. Kraninger, the agency's director.

Why are 30-year loans higher interest rates than 15-year loans?

Interest rates are a functiondefault riskeOpportunity costs. Loans and debts with longer maturities are inherently riskier because the borrower can default for longer. At the same time, the opportunity cost is greater over longer periods when this capital is immobilized and cannot be used for other purposes.

How does the Fed use interest rates in the economy?

The Federal Reserve, along with other central banks around the world, uses interest rates as a monetary policy tool. By raising the cost of borrowing from commercial banks, the central bank can affect many other interest rates, such as those on personal, commercial, and mortgage loans. This makes borrowing more expensive overall, lowers the demand for money and cools down an overheated economy. Lowering interest rates, on the other hand, makes borrowing easier and stimulates spending and investment.

(Video) How does raising interest rates control inflation?

Why do bond prices react inversely to changes in interest rates?

AbindingIt is a debt instrument that typically pays a fixed rate of interest over its term. Let's assume the prevailing interest rates are 5%. If a bond has a face price of $1,000 and an interest rate (coupon) of 5%, it will pay bondholders $50 per year. If interest rates rise to 10%, newly issued bonds will yield twice as much - i.e. H. $100 for $1,000 inbravery nominal. An existing title that costs as little as $50 has to be sold at a deep discount for someone to want to buy it. When interest rates drop to 1%, new bonds pay just $10 per $1,000 of face value. Therefore, a title that costs $50 will be in high demand and its price will be quite high.


1. Loans 101 (Loan Basics 1/3)
2. Nominal interest, real interest, and inflation calculations | AP Macroeconomics | Khan Academy
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3. INTEREST: Simple Interest vs Compound Interest vs Continuous Interest
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4. How interest rates affect interest rates, financial flows, and exchange rates
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5. What do higher interest rates mean for you?
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6. How Interest Rates Are Set: The Fed's New Tools Explained
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